A person has a disability if she or he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Accessible locations and buildings

The Trust has comissioned AccessAble to produce Access Guides and Routes within our buildings, clinics and services. This provides any visitors to our venues with detailed accessibility information they need to work out if a place is going to be accessible for them. They are 100% facts, figures and photographs. Visitors can use AccessAble to see if we have wheelchair friendly venues or check out our disabled access and facilities.

We know everyone's accessibility needs are different, which is why having detailed, accurate information is so important. It's why AccessAble send their trained surveyors to check out every single place in person and why the information they collect has all been decided by their user community.

You can see our AccessAble Accessibility Guides here: Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust | AccessAble (opens in a new window).

Photos of GMMH's buildings with the following text: "This Access Guide has been made possible thanks to: Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust" alongside GMMH's logo

Accessible information

To make sure that our patients and their carers, particularly those with a disability or sensory loss, are given information in a way they can understand we have created a collection of helpful BSL friendly resources and examples of easy to read information for our staff.

There are information tools and documents to help our staff design their own information, so that people who use our services are provided with information that they can easily read or understand, and with support, so they can communicate easily with our staff.

This should lead to improved outcomes and experiences, and safer, better services.

This also helps to ensure information that staff provide complies with the The Accessible Information Standard (opens in a new window), which is there to help NHS and adult social care services to improve, so they can better meet the communication and support needs of disabled people.

British Sign Language (BSL)

John Denmark Unit

The Trust’s Communications Team have worked with clinical staff from the John Denmark Unit (the Trust’s National Centre for Mental Health and Deafness) to develop a tool used to record the communication strengths and weaknesses of Deaf service users in a visual format.

The tool is called ‘The Communication Sunburst’ and includes:

  • A manual including score sheets
  • A BSL overview of the tool on DVD
  • An electronic version of the score sheet on DVD

The packs have been distributed to eight NHS trusts around the UK to trial.

Our John Denmark Unit has produced a deaf-friendly welcome film for patients and their families, carers and friends, to gain an insight into life on the wards, which you can view here: John Denmark Unit | Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS FT (gmmh.nhs.uk) This film is in BSL and includes subtitles.

The Communication Development lead at the JDU has delivered BSL and Deaf Awareness sessions to primary schools across Greater Manchester and the JDU Deaf choir has performed at Tesco in Prestwich (September 2019) and at the Trust’s Annual Members Meeting (October 2019).

Minutes of meetings are now available in a deaf friendly format at our John Denmark Unit (JDU).

Accessible medication information

We are in the process of developing a BSL film for medication information; this is in collaboration with the Choice and Medication website (opens in a new window).

British Sign Language users accessing our services

We have developed a BSL, subtitled film that provides an overview of all the services GMMH provides. The film sits on the ‘Our Services’ section of our website and is also available on GMMH’s YouTube channel.

We have also developed a way on our website to enable British Sign Language users to contact us using a Sign Language interpreter, through the Interpreters Live! Service, provided by Sign Solutions.

We ensure Sign Language interpreters are present at all major Trust events, such as our Celebration of Learning & Volunteering event, Annual Members Meeting, Launch of our Service User Engagement Strategy etc.

Deaf awareness training

There are approximately 8.7 million people in the UK with a hearing loss, which is approximately 1 in 7 people, so the likelihood of you meeting a deaf or hard of hearing person in your workplace or local community is high.

Our John Denmark Unit (JDU) in Prestwich is a mental health inpatient unit for Deaf people - one of only three such units in the country. The Trust’s JDU is proud to deliver Deaf Awareness Training for our Recovery Academy. The training is free, for everyone (health professionals, service users or their supporters) and aims to provide a more detailed understanding of deafness; deaf people, their culture, community, and language.

The training includes some fun games where you get to experience first-hand the types of communication barriers deaf people experience every day.

Disability Staff Network

GMMH’s Disability Network is for all staff with a disability or long-term health condition and their allies who work for the Trust. The group provides a platform for disabled colleagues to be able to support one another, share work related experiences and influence GMMH future policy/practice.

Media Walls at the John Denmark Unit

A photo of our Media Wall at the John Denmark Unit

  • Our National Centre for Mental Health and Deafness  - the John Denmark Unit (JDU) uses 'Media Walls' to aid communication with service users.
  • Media Walls are 32 inch touch screen computers.
  • They are installed in each patient bedroom, INS and Quiet rooms at our Mental Health and Deafness inpatient unit.
  • The Media walls are run from a central server.
  • The JDU control the content of each device.
  • They sit under the GMMH firewall but are standalone.
  • Purchasing of the Media Walls is part of our commitment to our service users to be a culturally and linguistically accessible deaf service.
  • Each device is tailored to each individual.
  • Created ‘apps’ for the TV’s.
  • Tailored information in BSL in a way each service user finds accessible to meet their preferred communication/ understanding.
  • JDU create the content for the ‘Apps’ – film, edit, subtitle and manage.
  • GDPR/IG met to ensure we have a way to protect personal/confidential information.
  • Each service user accesses information with a pin code.
  • JDU have robust administration systems and procedures.
  • Additional Features – ‘Apps’: TV, Photos, Draw, BSL Zone, Relax, Agenda, Videos, Radio, Music, & Game

The multifunction’s we use the media walls for at the JDU are tailor made to each individual such as:

  • Care plans
  • Medication
  • Physical health
  • Mental Health
  • Sections
  • Rights
  • CPA
  • Tribunals
  • Covid-19
  • Advocacy


As a patient

As a service user, relative or carer using our services, sometimes you may need to turn to someone for help, advice, and support. 

Find resources for carers and service users  Contact the Trust